As no anniversary is complete without a celebration, the Foundation’s friends, grantees, Governors and staff came together in late May at Melbourne Zoo to commemorate 40 years of scholarships and grantmaking.
The commemoration was attended by many scholars (or "seedlings" as GAF scholar and speaker Joshua Stafford aptly put it). They represented universities across Australia, including Australian Catholic University, RMIT, The Gordon, Murdoch University, Deakin and Swinburne University, as well as Fellows from the International Specialised Skills Institute and the Centre for Sustainability Leadership.
In their studies and through their work, these scholars are creating a wonderful legacy for the Foundation and embody George's enthusiasm for helping bright young people further their education.
Each GAF program is tailored to ensure it meets the unique needs of the institution and its students, and I am pleased to report our most recent partnership with the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Studies (ACPNS) at the Queensland University of Technology to develop a significant scholarship program in support of their graduate program.
Towards the end of his life, George Alexander committed to sharing his life story in the hope that it would inspire others to consider giving back through active and engaged philanthropy. To honour his commitment to growing philanthropy in Australia, the Foundation has established the ACPNS Scholarship Program, which will be open to students from 2013. By building the capacity of those working in the non-profit and philanthropic organisations, the Foundation hopes to contribute to the continuing professionalization, efficacy and impact of those sectors. This approach very much aligns with George's own philosophy of planting seeds in the hope that they grow into strong trees.
At our May commemoration, former GAF Executive Director, Professor Dorothy Scott, described George Alexander as "a eucalyptus tree that had grown in poor soils with insufficient water, with harsh searing droughts and sun … perhaps not in spite of it, but perhaps because of that adversity he grew to be the man he was. His 'tree' has gone forth with seeds…that is the legacy and the way we honour George Alexander."
In 2011-12, the Foundation's total distributions surpassed $8 million, a figure that represents the magnitude of George's generosity and a wonderful legacy for the community that will continue to give and grow in the years ahead.
Chief Executive Officer